How Baylor’s Roxy Grove became one Canadian family’s ‘angel of mercy’
Just in time for Christmas, we have a beautiful, never-before-told story for you about a Baylor Bear of old who did exactly what Bears do: make the world around them shine just a little brighter.
If you attended Baylor, you’ve probably heard the name “Roxy Grove” before. Baylor’s Roxy Grove Hall, a 500-seat concert hall in the Waco Hall complex, was named for Roxy Harriette Grove, AB 1908. She first came to Baylor in 1906 for her undergraduate degree in music; 20 years later, she returned as chair of the newly reorganized Baylor School of Music — after spending the intervening two decades earning three more music degrees, studying under a renowned pianist and Beethoven specialist, doing missionary work, serving as a WWI nurse, and performing around the world.
It’s during this world tour where our story begins. Twitter user Alicia Hope-Ross — located all the way up in Alberta, Canada, and with absolutely no connection to Baylor — recently shared this pamphlet from the funeral of her grandmother, Roxy Hope-Ross:
In short: Roxy Grove, touring Canada as a musical performer shortly after World War I, encountered a pregnant, essentially single mother of three. Grove stayed with the family for weeks to help cook, clean, tend to sick children, and more, until one day in the spring when she disappeared “almost as suddenly as she had arrived.” The baby that was born shortly thereafter was named Roxy in Grove’s honor, and almost 100 years later, the family continues to pass down the story of their “angel of mercy.”
“I had heard the story about my grandmother’s name a handful of times before, but not to the detail it was told at her funeral,” Alicia says. “It was always a story told with a touch of magic to it, as though it was from the mind of Walt Disney. I remember that as a child I always thought Roxy Grove wasn’t real, but was an angel that showed up on my family’s door. As an adult, realizing that Roxy was a real woman and such a talented artist blew me away.”
To this day, Alicia’s family still has the stone Roxy Grove gave her great-grandmother. Roxy Hope-Ross held onto it her entire life, until her grand-niece had a daughter of her own: Roxy Hutton. Now four years old, young Roxy will become the inheritor of the “perfect crystal of rock in the shape of the cross.”
“Without [Roxy Grove], who’s to say where our family would be today?,” wonders Alicia. “I very much doubt that my great-grandmother would have been able to muddle through without her help for much longer. Her impact from a short stay in a small Canadian town is still felt today through children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and of course, the young Roxy Hutton.”
Sic ’em, Roxy Grove, Hope-Ross and Hutton!